DB11 quick­ens your heart

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - TEST DRIVE By Robin Roberts

AS­TON Martin is on a roll and as part of its ‘sec­ond cen­tury’ plan it will be pro­duc­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of SUV cars from an all-new fac­tory at St Athan in South Wales.

In the mean­time, the great Bri­tish mar­que has re­cently recom­mis­sioned its famed New­port Pag­nell fa­cil­ity for spe­cial­ist projects and con­tin­ues to make mod­els at its new home in Gay­don, War­wick­shire.

That’s where the lat­est DB11 is made and it is the nat­u­ral suc­ces­sor to the DB9 – the new fig­ure­head for a se­ries so many know and love, like the DB2/4, DB5 and the DB10 cre­ated for the James Bond film fran­chise.

The V12 en­gine in the DB11 is the most pow­er­ful reg­u­lar pro­duc­tion en­gine in an As­ton Martin with ad­vanced me­chan­i­cal soft­ware and fuel tech­nol­ogy to stretch econ­omy with­out de­tract­ing from the per­for­mance and au­ral at­tributes of the pow­er­house.

The fig­ures re­ally speak for them­selves with an ac­cel­er­a­tion from 0 to 60 in 3.9 sec­onds, a top speed of 200mph and fuel con­sump­tion of 24mpg.

What is not seen in the raw sta­tis­tics but felt though the driver’s hands, feet and seat of pants is the way the DB11 steers, rides, han­dles and brakes, in­spir­ing and im­press­ing with ev­ery jour­ney.

The new elec­tronic brain in the V12 in­cludes driver-cho­sen GT, Sport and Sport Plus modes to pro­gres­sively sharpen re­sponses from the en­gine and its highly so­phis­ti­cated eight­speed ZF trans­mis­sion which can be left to its own de­vices or man­u­ally mas­saged to bring out the best.

The cock­pit is dom­i­nated by a 12-inch liq­uid crys­tal dis­play for speedome­ter, tachome­ter and es­sen­tial driver in­for­ma­tion and a cen­trally placed eight-inch in­fo­tain­ment screen for nav­i­ga­tion, the high qual­ity sound sys­tem and wifi con­nec­tiv­ity, to­gether with cam­eras and sen­sors to aid park­ing.

Very wide open­ing doors give ex­cel­lent front seat ac­cess but it’s more of a fid­dle to squeeze into the two bucket back-seats and the legroom be­hind is very short and con­trasts with that in front.

Head­room is ad­e­quate in the front, less so be­hind, and there is poor odd­ments room through­out and a rel­a­tively small boot of just 270 litres for a grand tourer of such cal­i­bre.

For­tu­nately, the DB11 is quick enough to make longer jour­neys eas­ily ac­com­plished and you do so in su­perb com­fort thanks to the new plat­form and sus­pen­sion.

It is slightly firm but not at all hard, it soaks up bumps and ridges with­out com­plaint or loss of com­po­sure and when you are press­ing on around some twist­ing tracks it sticks like glue thanks to its very big wheels and tyres with little roll or pitch­ing.

The han­dling is in­spir­ing and safe, the elec­tric steer­ing pin sharp and pro­gres­sive while the mas­sive steel brakes re­sult in dra­matic de­cel­er­a­tion.

It’s a big car but with fa­mil­iar­ity it ac­tu­ally feels smaller and that’s down to its dy­namic qual­i­ties and re­sponses, its road-hold­ing and agility. A driver is un­likely to ever find its lim­its of ad­he­sion.

The leather-filled in­te­rior is im­pres­sive and in­di­vid­ual ar­eas can be fin­ished from a lengthy list of choices, but I thought the “mar­bled” door cas­ings in the test car looked out of place.

The ul­tra smooth ex­te­rior lines of the DB11 re­ally flow from front to back, around both ends and over the roof in a most sat­is­fy­ing style which cap­tures air­flow to im­prove sta­bil­ity and cool­ing at the same time.

Out­wardly it en­gen­ders com­ments about its styling and in­side it makes oc­cu­pants com­ment on its lux­ury, but for the driver it sim­ply makes your heart beat faster and feel more at one with the world, and your DB11 or course.

AS­TON MARTIN DB11 V12 COUPE

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